Seven Zimbabweans living in South Africa have died after drinking toxic homemade alcohol.
Thirteen others have been hospitalised, of which five are in a critical condition, after they consumed the brew that was tainted with methanol.
The tragedy unfolded on Sunday, a day before the ban on liquor sales was lifted under lockdown Level 3 in the country.
The latest death was recorded on Wednesday.
The men, who lived Masiphumele in Fish Hoek, had attended a party where the brew was served on Sunday.
Senai Rungano, 33, who is eight months pregnant, lost her husband Tapera who also drank the booze.
“I thought he was his usual drunk self but when I tried to give him food, he had no appetite,” she says.
“On Monday morning I thought it was a hangover, he started vomiting and had hot flashes.”
The mother of two says she was angry and shouted at her husband to get ready for work, but he was restless and didn’t recognise her.
“I realised that he was not responsive and his mental situation was different. He did not know that I was his wife,” she says.
Tapera was rushed to False Bay Hospital where he died while waiting to be transferred to Groote Schuur hospital.
“I am heavily pregnant with two kids and I do not work. I am renting here, where will I get the money now that he is gone?” asks the devastated widow.
The supplier of the booze is nowhere to be found and his girlfriend Triza Jere, 26, says the bottles used for the home-made brew were marked “flammable acid”.
“I did not taste it nor smell it because I hate alcohol,” she said.
“They could not drink it without mixing it with Coke or juice.
“My boyfriend also drank it and I do not know whether he died or is sick in hospital.”
Natalie Watlington, the Health Communications Officer for Southern Western Sub-structures, confirmed: “Twenty cases of methanol poisoning were admitted to False Bay Hospital thus far of which seven patients have passed away. Five of the patients have been transferred either to Victoria or Groote Schuur Hospital.
“The cause of methanol poisoning was due to the consumption of alcohol tainted with methanol.”
People sometimes use methanol as a substitute for alcohol but this is dangerous and harmful to humans.
Methanol is used to create fuel, solvents and antifreeze.
Family Of Girl (14) Who Died During Childbirth “Offers” The Husband Her Sister (9) As A Replacement
The family of a 14-year-old girl who recently lost her life during childbirth at an apostolic sect’s church gathering in Marange is reportedly planning to offer their nine-year-old daughter to their in-laws as her late sister’s replacement (chigadzamapfihwa).
Evans Momberume, the man who allegedly impregnated the girl, Memory Machaya, is still walking free, more than two weeks after the minor’s death.
Memory reportedly died around 9 AM on 15 July and was secretly buried two hours later.
The Manica Post has gathered that Memory was forced out of school while doing Form One in Mhondoro to get married to Momberume.
Memory, the last born child in a family of six, was having her first birth. She left behind a baby boy who is said to be in the custody of his father.
Efforts by The Manica Post to get in touch with Momberume were fruitless as no one had his contact details.
In a telephone interview with The Manica Post on Thursday, the Machaya spokesperson, a bitter Alice Mabika, confirmed her niece’s painful death.
Alice said she and Memory’s mother, Shy Mabika, were barred from entering the church shrine after their daughter’s burial.
The Mabika sisters said their daughter was denied medical attention at her hour of need.
Alice said from the information they obtained from Momberume’s sister (name not supplied), those who attended to Memory on the fateful day say she complained of a headache.
“Midwives” reportedly diagnosed that Memory had ulcers in the mouth and nose and went on to rub her mouth with salt while pouring paraffin into her nose. Said, Alice:
_We were told that five ‘midwives’ attended to Memory and rubbed salt in her mouth while pouring paraffin into her nose. We were told that she had a seizure and hit her head on the ground._
“She died soon after delivering her baby boy and the church members went on to bury her without involving us.”
After being notified about Memory’s death, her mother, a devotee of the church who had not attended the church gathering in question, went to the shrine in the company of her relatives.
The family spent the night waiting to be granted access but were barred from entering the shrine by the sect’s security team. Said, Alice:
“When we arrived at the shrine around 2 pm, we were told to wait until the prayers were done at 6 pm.”
“The security team checked us around 7 pm, but they became evasive. Our pleas to be attended to fell on deaf ears and we had to spend the night in the open.”
“We remained resolute in our quest to see our daughter’s body, but the security details would not budge.”
“We even tried to engage the service of our relative who is in the police force in Chinhoyi.”
“We phoned him and he tried to talk to the church’s security personnel, but they refused to entertain him over the phone.”
Alice said Memory’s mother is “devastated” by her daughter’s death and she is currently bedridden at her home in Kwekwe.
Meanwhile, pressure groups have demanded the arrest and prosecution of the church’s leaders and the man who impregnated Memory.
According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the legal age of consent for sexual activity is 16, while the minimum age for marriage is 18.
Businessman nabbed over 113 fraudulently obtained driver’s licences
Police have arrested a Harare businessman and seized at least 113 driving licence discs that were due to be handed to aspiring drivers who paid US$250 each to be issued with the documents without undergoing the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) tests.
Detectives arrested businessman Tendekai Madongorere and Julius Punungwe before seizing a number of documents which included:
- 113 fake driving licence discs and certificates of competence with names of aspiring drivers,
- five fake defensive driving certificates,
- five card printers used to produce the documents,
- 400 fake blank national identity cards,
- one fake Zimra tax clearance certificate,
- one fake deed of grant in respect of a Mufakose house,
- 29 copies of serialised birth record documents and nine copies of birth certificates.
- A fake Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) identity card in the name of Madongorere
- fake Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) identity cards bearing the names of Innocent Kayo, Edmund Mhere and Tichaona Chijwanha.
- fake Covid-19 essential staff cards,
- fake Cambridge O-Level and A-Level certificates,
- a desktop computer,
- three fake diploma certificates, and other dubious papers.
Three months ago, The Herald carried an investigative story in which fraudsters were advertising on social media that they can facilitate the issuance of driving licences within hours.
Madongorere (48) is a director of Impact Designs Private Limited which operates in Harare’s central business district while Punungwe (47) is unemployed.
Police established from interviewing the 113 people whose names appeared on the fraudulent driving licence documents that they had paid US$250 each for the discs.
The people in question, are expected to give evidence as State witnesses in the trial of the two suspects.
Detectives at Chitungwiza Police Station received information that some fraudsters were printing forged official documents selling them to people in Harare and Chitungwiza.
The police arrested Madongorere who then implicated Punungwe who was subsequently arrested.
The two are in custody, having lost two freedom bids at Chitungwiza Magistrates’ Court and the High Court.
They are now back at Chitungwiza Court with a fresh freedom bid dubbed “application for bail pending trial on changed circumstances”.
A magistrate is yet to determine the application.
Fraudster arrested after swipping for $390 000 groceries
A fraudster has been arrested after he swiped for groceries worth more than $398 000 at OK Supermarket in Hwange using a bank card that had been tampered with.
The man, Brian Pedzisa of Chitungwiza, was arrested on Thursday and is suspected to be among a gang of people who have been using cloned cards and other bank card related tactics to con various retail shops across the country.
Detectives on Thursday pounced on Pedzisa at the supermarket, moments after he was about to get out after swiping for groceries worth $396 384.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Glory Banda confirmed the incident and said police were now looking for two other people linked to the sca
“On 10 June 2021 a gang of three fraudsters tried to defraud OK Hwange Supermarket of groceries worth $396 384.
One of the fraudsters successfully used an electronic Visa card to make purchases but before he could make off he was arrested by a team of watchful detectives who were working on a tip-off. Upon being interviewed the suspect revealed that he was working with two other accomplices who are still at large,” said Insp Banda.
He said the gang had used the same strategy to defraud OK Mart Victoria Falls of an undisclosed amount in groceries. He appealed to members of the public to assist with information leading to their arrest.
“The two accomplices are on the run anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of these two criminals can report at the nearest police station,” said Insp Banda.
He called on shop owners to enhance security to avoid such incidents which were on the rise in the country.
“As police we would like to implore shop owners to enhance security at their premises through use of alarm systems and Closed Circuit Television. Retailers should examine electronic cards and do necessary verifications before processing of electronic transactions. For the record some fraudsters misrepresent themselves as humanitarian workers.”
According to sources privy to the incident, the gang would approach the supermarkets seeking a quotation for groceries pretending that the transaction wanted would be effected from a nostro account. Later one of the gang members would return to make purchases using a Visa card whose microchip would have been tampered with. Sunday News